Back to school, back to work

August 21st, 2017|Action of the Week|1 Comment

Voting matters.

Last week primary elections were held across the state for nonpartisan municipal and and special service district positions, narrowing down the candidate field for the November 7th general election. Up for election are city mayors, city council members, school board members and more across the state. If you were unable to vote in the primaries, prepare yourself now for the November election by:

  • Registering to vote (find out how)
  • Marking your calendar for the November 7th general election

On Monday, Action Utah held a press conference and rally with other nonpartisan groups, Mormon Women for Ethical Government and Salt Lake Indivisible, to educate voters in Utah’s Congressional District 3 amidst great confusion over the special election GOP primary and to encourage civic engagement. (Thanks to everyone who came out!)

In that unprecedented election the two petition candidates (those nominated by the voters) earned 7 out of 10 Republican votes, whereas the convention candidate (the one nominated by Republican delegates) earned only 3 out of 10. That is a striking number that proves the point of critics of the caucus/convention nominating system.

What is the problem with the caucus/convention method? 

A caucus/convention election method means that a small group of delegates selects the party’s candidate for primary and general conventions — though with enough votes those candidates skip primaries altogether and only face voters in a general election. In areas with a strong party majority (like many districts in Utah), those candidates are almost certain to win the general election, meaning that a small group of people end up choosing the elected official. Critics call this system arcane and anti-democratic because it gives too much power to ideologues and extremists in both parties who misalign with or even misrepresent the ideologies of the voters and choose candidates who do not represent the people.

What can you do?

  • Participate in your party’s precinct caucuses to vote for delegates who truly represent you
  • Become a delegate at precinct caucuses next March (more info in our Resources toolkit here)
  • Support the SB 54 Count My Vote compromise legislation that allows petition candidates to get on the ballot if they collect enough signatures
  • Keep your eye out for a possible ballot initiative by the folks behind Count My Vote to eliminate the caucus/convention nominating system



Wed, Aug 23rd, 8:30a-4:00p – INTERIM SESSION at the Capitol, Salt Lake City. Action Utah leaders and members attend Interim Sessions at the Capitol every month to sit in on public committee meetings, hear about the issues our legislators are studying, see how our legislative branch works and learn how to impact it. We invite you to join us for any part of the day, or to go on your own.

Members who would like to join Action Utah, please meet up in the Cafeteria on the ground floor of the Senate Building (on the East side of the Capitol Campus) promptly at 8:20a. Please be sure to allow time to find parking.

8:30-11:15a – Interim Committee Meetings (open to the public)

  • Business and Labor (agenda)
  • Education (agenda)
  • Government Operations (agenda)
  • Health and Human Services (agenda)
  • Political Subdivisions (agenda)
  • Public Utilities, Energy and Technology (agenda)

11:30a – Brief tour of the Capitol with Action Utah. Meet at the fountain in the central courtyard.

1:15-4:00p – Interim Committee Meetings (open to the public)

  • Economic Development and Workforce Services (agenda)
  • Judiciary (agenda)
  • Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice (agenda)
  • Natural Resources, Agriculture and the Environment (agenda)
  • Revenue and Taxation (agenda)
  • Transportation (agenda)

4:00p – Senate Floor Session

Contact us if you would like to attend any part of the Interim Session with us. If you are unable to attend in person, you can still take part in the public meetings by listening to the audio recordings any time after the committee meetings have ended. Click on the committee you want to listen to on this list or on the legislative Calendar and click on “Audio/Video”. Click on the section of the meeting you’d like to hear.

Fri, Aug 25th, 7:00p – Town Hall with Rob Bishop (CD-1), Layton Christian Academy in Layton. All constituents of Congressional District 1 are reportedly invited for the first in-person, public town hall with Rob Bishop of the year.



Weekly Actions

State Issues

1. Last chance to speak up about National Monuments. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will be delivering his final recommendations on over 29 national monuments by August 24th. Did you know that 60% of Utahns want to see our National Monuments kept as is?

  • Get busy on social media. Remind Zinke to make recommendations that reflect the desires of Utahns and people across the nation by sharing great articles and videos on social media every day through August 24th. Find a list of great articles to post, like and share here.

2. Ask Senator Hatch to make good on his promise to support Utah schools. Last week Senator Hatch announced a general commitment to helping Utah schools and students on his Facebook page without giving any details as to what that specifically means. But we have a few ideas for how he could help students right now, namely 1) opposing cuts to federal lunch programs that feed low-income Utah school children and 2) working with the EPA and state agencies to clean up drinking water in schools like those in the Granite, Box Elder and other Utah school districts, where testing revealed high levels of lead in the water.

  • Call Senator Hatch and let him know there are two ways he can make good on his statement of commitment to help our schools RIGHT NOW. As always, be sure to leave your full address with zip code to ensure your call gets counted.
  • Comment on Hatch’s Facebook statement with these two suggestions (after you’ve called, of course). You can comment directly on the post below. Be sure to include your zip code to show you are a constituent.
  • Follow up these calls or e-mails to your school district representative, your Utah State Board of Education representative and even ask at Back to School Nights.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (202) 224-5251 (DC) // (801) 524-4380 (SLC) // (801) 375-7881 (Provo) // (435) 634-1795 (St. George) // (801) 625-5672 (Ogden) // (435) 586-8435 (Cedar City)


National Issues

1. Save the Consumer Financial Protections Bureau’s new arbitration rule. After 5 years of careful study, a new arbitration rule was created to protect consumers from mandatory arbitration and restore consumers’ ability to join together in class action lawsuits against financial institutions. Why? Because the data shows that consumers lose out big time in arbitration versus court. According to the Economic Policy Institute, in arbitration consumers are awarded relief only 9% of the time, whereas companies get relief 93% of the time. In fact, the average consumer ends up paying the financial institution in arbitration. Banning consumer class actions lets financial institutions keep hundreds of millions of dollars that would otherwise go back to harmed consumers every year. Yet members of Congress have introduced legislation to repeal the CFPB rule and take away consumers’ newly restored right to band together in court.

  • Ask your Members of Congress to oppose using the Congressional Review Act to roll back consumer protections that overwhelmingly favor financial institutions to the detriment of their customers.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (202) 224-5251 (DC) // (801) 524-4380 (SLC) // (801) 375-7881 (Provo) // (435) 634-1795 (St. George) // (801) 625-5672 (Ogden) // (435) 586-8435 (Cedar City)
Sen. Mike Lee 202-224-5444 (DC) // 801-524-5933 (SLC) // 435-628-5514 (St. George) // 801-392-9633 (Ogden)
Rep. Rob Bishop (Congressional District 1): 202-225-0453 (DC) // 801-625-0107 (Ogden)
Rep. Chris Stewart (Congressional District 2): 202-225-9730 (DC) // 801-364-5550 (SLC) // 435-627-1500 (St. George)
Rep. Mia Love (Congressional District 4): (202) 225-3011 (DC) // 801-996-8729 (West Jordan)
Not sure who your U.S. Representative is? Check here.

2. Two ways to support immigrants.
First, question funding for arbitrary increases in immigration patrol staff. The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently released a report calling into question the need for 10,000 additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and 5,000 Border Patrol Agents as outlined in President Trump’s January executive orders. The report noted that ICE and CBP had no operational plans to justify all these new hires or a plan on where and how to deploy the new staff once hired. Congress who will be asked to fund these new additional positions.

  • Contact your Members of Congress and ask them to exercise oversight by demanding a staffing plan that justifies the need for these new hires and not approving funding until or unless the effort and expense is justified. Point them to the OIG report. When funding for so many vital programs is on the line, ask your congressional reps not to write a blank check for unnecessary expenses.

Second, support DREAMers: DACA is in danger of being tied up in courts on Sept 5. U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) took a step in the right direction when they introduced the bipartisan DREAM Act of 2017. The DREAM Act is urgently needed legislation that provides a path to citizenship for the nearly 1.8 million immigrants who have grown up here and know no other home. These young, hard-working people contribute tremendously to the strength and vitality of our communities, as well as to our economy.

  • Send a letter to the editor of your local paper using this tool from MomsRising to urge your members of Congress to support building strong and welcoming communities.


Back to school, back to work

For many Action Utah members, this week marks the end of summer schedules with the return of children to school. As you shift back into your regular schedules, remember to make civic engagement a routine part of your weekly life — whether you have 5 minutes or 5 hours to spend. A habit of engagement makes taking action every week easy. Pick a good time(s) and day(s) that fits into your weekly schedule and keep it up each week to have a voice in impacting policy. Don’t forget, you can always find our Daily and Urgent Actions plus updates, resources, tools and more on our website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And please forward this email to anyone else you know who may be interested in making a difference in Utah policymaking.

Andrea & Katie,
Co-Founders, Action Utah

One Comment

  1. Christy Jacobs August 23, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    Hopefully someone had already mentioned that Bishop’s Layton town hall is Friday, not Thursday. He has a town hall in Box Elder County of Thursday.

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